With skeletons in the closet and elephants in the room, it is often a stressful time when families get together for the holidays.
Whether Mom doesn’t approve of your new girlfriend or daughter-in-law doesn’t get asked to help with the meal, little tensions can make enjoying the day tough.
I ran across a New York Daily News story that asked two life coaches to take families through some example conflicts and how to deal with them. Here are some of the conflicts they addressed:
“1. Your mother-in-law insists on helping with the cooking – but keeps getting in the way.
2. You accepted a Thanksgiving invitation, but now you’re having second thoughts, thinking you’d rather spend the day elsewhere – or even on your own.
3. The guys slump in front of the TV to watch sports after the meal and do nothing to help.
4. Your sulky “New Moon”-addict kids set up camp in their bedroom, obsessively watching “Twilight” on DVD. They refuse to come out into the light.
5. Your mom is prone to baring her soul at Thanksgiving, reminiscing and ruminating on what she doesn’t have to be thankful for. It usually involves her going into intimate details about why her husband left her for another woman.
6. Your sister drops a bombshell during dinner, announcing that she’s getting divorced.
7. Your uncle has too much too drink and makes an unhelpful comment about your sister’s weight and her divorce.”
What do you think of these situations? Do they sound familiar? What would your solutions be?
The life coaches advise in the piece NOT to drink during the holidays, but I have to say that Michael does a lot better at my family’s house when he’s got one or two drinks in him. He relaxes more and just lets things roll off of him. I do agree that getting drunk is not going to help anyone’s situation. There is a difference between one drink to relax and being trashed. (I’m planning to make this festive pomegranate-champagne punch for the adults. This is the non-alcoholic version for the kids.)
What are you worried about most: the inlaws, the kids, your siblings, your parents? Who fights the most? What bad behaviors have you learned to expect? Do you imbibe cocktails during holidays? Do they help ease the situation or fuel the fire?